Red kangaroo’s tail acts like a fifth leg

By Sarah Zielinski, 09:44 AM July 3, 2014

When a red kangaroo moves fast, it bounds across the Australian landscape on its powerful hind legs. But when the animal moves more slowly, grazing for food, it uses both its front and hind limbs, with its tail on the ground behind. Scientists thought the tail’s main job might simply be for support.

Not so, report researchers July 2 in Biology Letters. At slow speeds, a kangaroo’s tail acts like a fifth leg, providing as much forward propulsion as the other four limbs combined.

Shawn M. O’Conno...

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